Sharing is caringPublished 8:40pm Thursday, April 4, 2013
PLYMOUTH — At times it just seemed unfair. When teams played the Vikings it was like watching some unlucky boxer step into the ring with Mike Tyson in his prime. They may dance around a little bit, maybe even inspire thoughts of an upset, but sooner or later you knew a flurry of blows where coming and when it did there was no getting back up from the canvas.
It would start with a rebound and a pass ahead for two. Then two quick steals for four easy points, followed by another rebound and a transition three, and before you know it, it was lights out. Some unfortunate coach is forced to call a timeout and give his team a standing eight count.
That’s the affect the Vikings fastbreak had this season and as a result they ran their way to 25 straight wins and a Four Rivers Conference regular season and tournament title for the second straight season. It also earned Marvin Davenport his second consecutive Washington Daily News Coach of the Year honor.
Last season Davenport led Plymouth to the NCHSAA 1-A state title game for the only the second time in the school’s history. This year, he returned a bulk of his roster, which is a dream scenario with a catch. Having a team of star players can turn a locker room into a galaxy of egos, however, that never happened under Davenport’s watch.
The key for the humble Vikings coach was to make sure that his players took care of each other as well as they did the basketball.
“Respect is the No. 1 thing,” Davenport said. “They respected themselves, they respected their teammates and most of all they respected the coaching staff and authority figures. That’s what helped carry us so far, it was the love they had for one another.”
Sharing is caring and it showed on their fastbreaks as teammates routinely made the extra pass, forgoing possible points for themselves if they spotted another Viking with a better look.
“A big part of our game was running the floor and we looked for our teammates before we took the shot ourselves,” Davenport said. “The guys were always looking for each other and that’s the difference. They’d rather pass the ball then take the shot themselves.”
Despite an abbreviated preseason due to Plymouth’s successful run at a state championship in football, the Vikings didn’t miss a beat come hoops time and their fastbreak allowed them to rattle off 25 straight wins and streak into the third round of the playoffs. It was there the run ended as they ran into a controversial fifth seed in Rocky Mount Prep who dealt the Vikes their first loss of the year.
Showing true character, Davenport refused to let the abrupt ending sour his season.
“The players did everything I asked them to do,” Davenport said. “We won the conference championship and we won the tournament championship and we were able to be the No. 1 seed in the East. We had no control of the matchup in the third round, but overall we had a great year. It was a great year.”